I was sitting on the back porch, wind ruffling through my frizzy hair; I had my fat pink notebook propped open on my lap while I breathed in deep breaths of naturey-smelling-air and wrote my daily letter to the Blessed Virgin.
This was a fairly new practice for me, and it was one that I’d embarked on shortly before my act of Total Consecration. It had just seemed right to me. There was so much on my heart surrounding the culmination of this 33-day devotion . . . like, life-changing things. In what had seemed a very short space of time, God had stripped away away years’ worth of my dreams through consecutive revelations that His will for me lay along a different path, and that what I had been desiring for so long had not been for my good, nor for the good of others. Painful? Yes. But it also brought undeniable peace.
And, at the same time, it left me with the inescapable feeling of being scraped clean, of starting over, of looking ahead, of inhaling a different kind of air and seeing the world under a different finger of sunlight . . .
. . . so what better time to become a slave to the Virgin Mary? What better time to chain my wrist to her and totally surrender to her, asking her to guide my life as God willed it, while I kept nothing for my own?
What better time to write her letters about what was going on in my soul?
Thus I had embarked. I was a little astonished how fluidly the words poured out of my heart and into hasty cursive. (I mean, I write a lot, but still, this was a little unprecedented!) I had so much to say; it seemed there were new realizations for me with my every pulse. I quickly found the Blessed Mother to be an intensely compassionate listener in whose presence I could be entirely unafraid and transparent; after all, her presence is the presence of the most perfect and loving Mother whose face is tenderness and whose hands are consolation. She loved me like a daughter although I was about to make myself her slave.
So yes, I was sitting on the back porch, writing her yet another letter (apologies for sidetracking there). I was pondering (again) this scraped-clean feeling of mine; this chance to begin anew, to step out afresh, to really pursue God’s will for me with all I’d learned over the past few years engraved in my heart.
And it began as a niggle. I started wondering about all sorts of things. What about a job? I’m just going on stipends now. Maybe I should really reconsider where I am in terms of work. Should I move towards getting my own car? Building some sort of platform? Should I be out, doing more things?
To clarify, my lifelong dream, my deepest desire, my insatiable soul-deep craving had always been to be a Catholic wife and mother. Period. I was practically born loving domesticity in one way or another. I started planning my wedding at the age of ten, and of course the children’s names came directly afterwards. I’d already done my first load of laundry at age nine.
And now, at this point of my life (post-school and all) I did a good bit of freelance writing, pursued a few musical avenues, but, apart from that . . . I did laundry and dishes, cooking and cleaning, generally being a miniature homemaker though I’d yet to leave my parents’ house. I’d thrived in it, because I loved it and because I was such an ardent believer in the graces of the domestic church. But now . . .
Maybe I should be doing something else.
So I started incorporating these ideas into my letter to the Blessed Virgin . . . or, rather, I tried to. I did, after all, want to be totally open to God’s will for me in this new chapter of life.
But no matter how much I wrote, the words that emerged from the tip of my blue pen weren’t the words in my head. It was almost as if someone were attempting to send me a message through myself. (Hmm, no clue as to who that would be . . .)
Pretty much in spite of myself, I wrote the following (apologies for the wordiness, but that’s just what happens when there’s no screen in front of me):
I don’t want to be busy to where I lose interior quiet and fail to hear God’s voice, yet at the same time, I want to work with energy and purpose at doing things that are good for me and those around me. I know that my immediate household tasks, along with the needs of my family, are the most important because they are potentially the most easily ignored and postponed in the face of “greater things” – so I know that my small, faithful contributions to the peace and well-being of our own little domestic church is equally, if not far more, pleasing to God than anything else I might ever do. It’s in these humble tasks that I can most closely unite myself to you, Mother, and imitate your humble, patient and generous example among the family God has given me.
Here lies the rhythm where my prayer life can continue to grow. Here is where I can best scorn the spirit of the world, as I promised to do in my total consecration – here is where I can be the smallest. The world would insist I now seize this time to go out and begin accomplishing things for myself . . . but as my Father has not yet seen fit to remove me from my home and family, here I will remain, in heart and mind as well as in body. Help me to truly and with authentic love put my family first, Mother, always before myself . . .
It’s been very tempting for me to want to go out now and start something new, start doing things that truly feel inspiring and important and very good, especially since my friends and those I know are out working, etc. . . . but I know in my heart the little domestic things will please God best and will prepare me most for being a faithful, content and generous wife and mother if God calls me to marriage; so until you show me otherwise, Mother, here is where I’ll stay.
There it was. And I was convinced by it, even before I’d even finished writing this argument-that-wasn’t-exactly-mine. Home is where my part is. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense to the rest of the world; if it seems imprudent or immature or whatever other adjective comes to the modern mind. Home is where the special graces are. Home is where I will be challenged to love those who are closest to me (and are therefore most annoying 😉 ) and asked to do the most mundane of tasks for the love of God. What place could make me into a better person than my own home? What other place on earth could prepare me better for my vocation?
I have always sensed my vocation lay in the domestic church. Its reality and mystery is my passion and my joy. Wifehood and motherhood are my deepest desires. So the question remains: if this is my vocation, why leave the training ground before God sends me away Himself?
Ah, well. I’ve got to stop writing this now . . . I can hear from the sound of things that I have dishes and laundry waiting on me 🙂